Stage 2 Pleural Mesothelioma Explained
Stage 2 symptoms have usually progressed or worsened compared to stage 1, though they are still manageable with proper treatments. Few cases of mesothelioma are caught at stage 2 because the symptoms still remain subtle. The prognosis for stage 2 is favorable and survival rates are also much higher compared to the later stages.
Stage 2 Mesothelioma Definition
Stage 2 mesothelioma remains isolated to one side of the chest. However, the mesothelioma has started to spread from a localized area into both the inner and outer layers of the pleura.
At this stage, the tumor can enlarge within the pleura around the lung. It may also spread the diaphragm or the tissue in the lung. Some staging standards classify stage 2 as also having spread to nearby lymph nodes on the same side of the chest.
Stage 2 Symptoms
Symptoms in stage 2 pleural mesothelioma become more noticeable, though they are often missed.
Common stage 2 pleural mesothelioma symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent cough
- Tightening in the chest
- Unexpected weight loss
Symptoms at this stage are caused by increased fluid buildup in the pleura, which leads to pressure and swelling in the chest and lungs In later stages, the pleural fluid hardens, causing more advanced and painful symptoms in the chest.
Because stage 2 mesothelioma symptoms are subtle, they can be confused with respiratory conditions such as pneumonia or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD). This can lead to an initial misdiagnosis. Discuss your past history of asbestos exposure with your doctor to prevent a life-threatening misdiagnosis.
Stage 2 Treatments
Because stage 2 mesothelioma has only spread a limited amount, many treatment options will work for patients. These include curative surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. All three of these combined have proven to significantly extend life expectancy in this stage.
Curative surgery options for stage 2 mesothelioma are the same as stage 1. These surgeries are either a pleurectomy with decortication (P/D) or an extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP).
Doctors may pursue one type of surgery over another, depending on how the mesothelioma has spread. With a P/D, surgeons remove the pleura and as much of the tumor as possible. With an EPP, surgeons remove whole and partial parts of the chest including the lung linings, one lung, the heart covering, and part of the diaphragm.
Doctors will also use chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy either before or after surgical procedures to help kill cancer cells, which supports the success of the surgery.
Stage 2 Prognosis
Stage 2 mesothelioma has a good prognosis because it has not yet spread enough to prevent surgical treatments from being effective. Survival rates are much better when the mesothelioma remains isolated to one side of the chest.
Patients who receive surgery during stage 2 have a life expectancy of 12 to 18 months, but many patients survive two years or longer after diagnosis. The fact that there are effective treatment options provides stage 2 mesothelioma patients with the hope that they can extend their life expectancy.
Talk to your health care team about how to improve your mesothelioma prognosis, including the available clinical trials for new and emerging treatments.